What is Design Thinking?

Broadly, it’s a heuristic (a set of guidelines, often presented as a diagram) which aims to be used as a tool for designers and makers to help them create.

There are as many types of design thinking as there are designers! And within that very broad definition, there are different types of design thinking, too – such as user-centred design thinking, which asks the designer to carry out research to empathise with a user’s needs.

The important thing to remember when thinking about design thinking (!) is that these guidelines/heuristics are just intended as a guide – not a set of rules. Each creative discipline is different. Each creative is different. My challenge to you is to look up and research some design thinking methods and evaluate/reflect on them – and adapt them to your own discipline and creative practice.

D-School Design Thinking

D-School, part of Stanford University, is one of the first and best-known centres to share ideas about design thinking. All their materials are available under creative commons licencing, and if you’re interested, a full introduction can be downloaded below. The back-story to d-school is also interesting – it’s a big enterprise now, but it started small.

The D-School design thinking heuristic

The design council double diamond

Another heuristic/set of ideas to support design thinking can be found in the Design Council’s ‘Double Diamond’. It’s similar, but not completely the same as d-school.


Are there any other design thinking visualisations or ideas that you can find?

How might we hack these models to make them more appropriate to our own practice?

Post ideas either on the padlet board or on the comments thread, below.

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